back to article Nipper's toy train enjoys journey to edge of SPAAAAACE

Toy train stories are like number 13 buses - you wait ages for one and then two turn up at once. Following our report earlier this week on wooden train outfit Bigjigs' audacious bid to run the West Coast Mainline franchise, we received news of a US dad who dispatched his young son's model locomotive to the stratosphere. It …


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  1. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Express train to space, mind the gap!

    Oh that's excellent.

    Loved the video.

    1. Andus McCoatover

      Re: Express train to space, mind the gap!

      Mind the gap? No-one said that to Felix Baumgartner?

  2. mike 32
    Thumb Up

    Awesome video!

    Adding animations is a definite winner!

  3. kbb

    Could've been a disaster

    It's all very cool, but what would have happened if it had landed 'Stanley' first on a hard surface?

    1. Ralph B

      Re: Could've been a disaster

      That would've been a puff-puff snuff movie.

      1. Benchops

        we need a Ringo Starr voiceover

        "Luckily, no-one was hurt"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A quick bit of very trainspotterish research reveals Stanley is a hybrid design based on tank engines produced by Leeds manufacturers Hudswell Clarke, and Kitson

    Or more likely a quick bit of lawyerish research would probably reveal that Stanley is a train name that is not a trademark of Britt Alcroft

  5. Mark McNeill
    Thumb Up


    The animations made it.

    [Couldn't help thinking that the B3TA version would have had Stanley dying of hypoxia, though...]

  6. Geoff Thompson

    Seen it before but very much worth a look again. The animation was a terrific enhancement, a real feel good movie. Thanks!

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Plus several million out of ten for style!

  8. MJI Silver badge


    The animations were very good, will show to my children tonight.

    BTW don't knock our railways too much, there were quite a few very clever people involved.

    So we started the tilting trains, worlds fastest steam & Diesel, steam heavy freight locos capable of an easy 90mph, most powerful Diesel in 50s and 60s at less than half the weight of the most powerful US loco, and most recent a heavy freight Diesel specifically designed to out pull the equivalent US design.

    Be proud of them

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Dave Bell

      Re: Great

      The only all-British satellite launch used a booster that was fuelled by kerosene and hydrogen peroxide, the hydrogen peroxide decomposing over a catalyst to produce a very hot mix of oxygen and steam.

      As propellant mixes go, it isn't so good, but a steam rocket is rather British.

      1. David Cox

        Re: Great

        Actually the Kerosene and Hydrogen Peroxide propellant mix was specifically shosen because is is a "cold" fuel, the expansion (that produces the thrust) is caused by chemical decomposition over the catalyst and not by compustion (as in the NASA stuff). This resulted in less heat sheilding and a reduced requirment for blast-proofing at the launch pad, iirc.

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Great

          Irrespective - steam propulsion *is* quintessentially British.

          I wonder if the designers felt chuffed after launch?

  9. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Excellent video and all that :) Especially the animations.

    Hope the wee Sir will remember this for a long time to come :)

  10. K Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    Its great that people do these home experiments!... but the "I can do it too" factor is getting a bit old now.

    Also the increase in people doing this is dangerous. What would happen if that thing had fallen onto a Motorway? or landed on somebodies head?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dangerous?

      Have a downvote for your pooh-poohing of this, and your use of "somebodies"

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Re: Dangerous?

        Agreed. Looks like somebodies got out of the wrong side of bed this morning.

        1. K Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Dangerous?

          OK my spelling and grammar are bad!

          But seriously, what would happen if this thing fell some place dangerous?

          Are these people insured?

          What precautions are taken to avoid accidents?

          Accelerating from the edge of space and landing on a person/car/home is going to cause a lot of damage :P

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dangerous?

            Seriously .... listed/read to this



            1. Chris Holt

              Re: Dangerous?

              If you are that worried why don't you read the youtube video text where he explicitly explains why it wasnt dangerous?! Or take it for the amusing video it is and relax

          2. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Dangerous?

            They don't accelerate all the way from space - they accelerate a bit, then slow* with a parachute, then slow further as the air gets thicker.

            * Yes I know slowing is acceleration, but clearly not in the way that "K" meant.

            Landing on stuff is one of the things you look at when you release a balloon - you look at the weather patterns all the way up if you can (and with the internet you can get some idea). Sometimes it will be wrong, but that's why you do it in the middle of nowhere, not from a London rooftop.

            1. Timmay

              Re: Dangerous?

              Yeah, sometimes you can get it a bit wrong...I dunno, like something splashing down in the sea off the south coast when it was meant to comfortably land in the Hampshire/Sussex countryside :)

              1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

                Re: Re: Dangerous?

                True. It's a miracle we didn't take out some passing ship.

                1. Andus McCoatover

                  Re: Dangerous?

                  True. Fortunately, because of timing, we didn't tie the Hindenber to the titanic...

          3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: Dangerous?

            "Accelerating from the edge of space and landing on a person/car/home is going to cause a lot of damage"

            Meh. Meteorites come in from a space a lot more often than trains do, and people don't get all steamed up about the risk of being hit by one of them.

            1. Stevie Silver badge

              Re: Dangerous?

              "Steamed". Hehhehhehhehheh.

          4. Don Jefe

            Re: Dangerous?

            K, it's Friday & you are being a real downer. People like you are keeping people from having fun & getting the children involved in science. Think of the children fool.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up

            Re: Dangerous?

            I was going to post a well-considered rebuttal to your posts but, in the end, the best I can come up with is:

            Oh, fuck off, you miserable bastard!

            Countdown to similarly 'sucking-last-ounce-of-fun-out-of-life' legislation outlawing "Unauthorised Launching of High Altitude Craft" for Health & Safety or Anti-Terrorist reasons in ten... nine... eight...

            Meanwhile back in the 'having an ounce of humanity' part of the human race: Kudos to that dad for giving his wee boy a magical memory he'll treasure for the rest of his life.

    2. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: Dangerous?

      Be quiet! The only thing I could moan about was the Dad's rather annoying trendy beard but I bet he's a real hero to his kid and the the kid's mates at school as well.

      If this convinces his kid or just one kid in his son's school to follow a career in science, I'll let the Dad's beard thing go!

  11. Ian Oliver 1
    Thumb Up

    The music reminds me of another railways related piece called "Dumb ways to die." :-)

    Absolutely brilliant stuff...looks like I'm going to have to raid my collection of old mobiles and son's toy trains ... all in the name of science which ain't a bad thing!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mmm, contibutor name looks well dodgy

    The contibutor name looks like a bit of a concotion.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Richard 116
    Thumb Up

    Cool dad

    I feel slightly inadequate now.

  14. Andus McCoatover

    Lovely, Thanks, Lester!

    Brilliant video! Great Friday evening entertainment! Appreciated!

    (Anyone know what tool they used for the animation? Got a small non-paying project that could use effects like this...)

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Lovely, Thanks, Lester!

      According to the guy, Photoshop and After Effects

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Software used.

      Yeah. It'll be After Effects. Part of my day job involves teaching it to animation students. Great piece of software. Think Photoshop, but extended into the dimension of time*

      [*that was meant to sound a bit SciFi].

  15. Randy Hudson

    This is why I visit The Reg!

    In case I missed out on a viral video from 5 months back. Really? A story from August 2012?

    1. Mike Flex

      Re: This is why I visit The Reg!

      "Really? A story from August 2012?"

      Well, indeed. It's a great video, but it was a great video when it turned up in my social media 5 months ago.

      Where is el Reg getting its stories from? Are you trawling through ancient copies of broadsheets' technology pages in dentists' waiting rooms? Have you considered getting a twitter feed and doing a bit of web-surfing yourselves? I hear it's quite the coming thing.

  16. Stevie Silver badge

    By Brunel's Mighty Thews

    That is a most well-thought out project and a stunningly well-thought-out video. Not only was the staging perfect, the animation was wonderful and the music was excellently appropriate and low-key. The kid will have a wonderful bit of memorabilia to show later in life.

    It should be required viewing for all those who thought that Colostomy Explosion was perfect for their "scale model aircraft in flight over pastoral scene" or "Lego Project Build" video.

  17. Franklin

    Now, son...

    Now son, go clean your room or I will take away your favorite toy...and SEND IT INTO SPAAAACE!

    (Actually, now that I think about it, I think I would have been a lot more motivated as a kid if my parents had said "Son, if you clean your room, we'll take your favorite toy and send it into space!")

  18. Peter Murphy

    Cheers to the Little Engine that Could!

    I wonder what it was going through its mind as it floated off to space. "I think I can... I think I can..."?

  19. Martin Budden

    RUN! IT'S AN ALIEN!!!!

    Aliens always land in cornfields. Dead give-away.

  20. Mussie (Ed)

    All ego's aside

    I would love to do something like this but, What if it did land on someones head ?

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